Shields and Stephens lead indoor track and fields teams to success

History made at national track and field competition

Written By Robert Berger, Co-Sports Editor

Senior Anna Shields of the indoor track and field team won her seventh and eighth national titles, set a new national record in the 1,000-meter race and helped the women’s team earn fifth place in the country.

Members of the team spent last weekend in Brookings, South Dakota to compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Championship event.

Defending her title in the 1,000 meters, Shields placed first by 11 seconds. She completed the race in 2 minutes, 44.35 seconds which set an NAIA record in the event. The original record was 2 minutes, 45.81 seconds set in 2015 by Hannah Hermansson from Marymount.

Two hours prior to the 1,00o meter record breaking race, Shields also claimed the national title in the one mile run by finishing 12 seconds ahead of second place finisher Aminat Olowora of Oklahoma City.

The senior’s mile time of 4 minutes, 37.73 seconds was just shy of setting the NAIA record which currently stands at 4 minutes, 37.26 seconds at 30th in country.

Following the 1,000 meter race, Shields ran again alongside the teammates of sophomores Alyssa Boyd, Reba Bartram and senior Taylor Celich in the distance medley relay (DMR).

In the final event of the weekend, the women’s team managed a second place finish in the DMR and finished with a time of 11 minutes, 55.93 seconds. The time set a school record in the event and earned NAIA All-American honors.

Point Park made it a close race with first place Oklahoma City only finishing the race with a time of 11 minutes, 55.93 seconds.

Freshman Alyssa Campbell competed at her first indoor national meet over the weekend racing in the 3,000 meter event.

Campbell placed 11th in the country and finished the race in 11 minutes, 1 second.

For Campbell, she hopes to return to the national championship meet next year with experience under her belt.

“I learned last weekend that it’s anybody’s race no matter if they are seeded faster than you. Everyone is running to get the top 8 for the All-American placement and you have to go in with a different mindset,” she said.

On the day, the Pioneers claimed their highest nationals placement of fifth place, the highest placement in program history.

“We were really happy and didn’t expect the fifth place finish so it was a bonus to the entire trip,” Campbell said.

Distance runner of the men’s team junior Xavier Stephens was the top finisher for the Pioneers competing in the 1,000 meter race. Competing in his first finals event of a national championship, Stephens finished eighth in the country and received NAIA All-American honors.

“In prelims I tried to stay second or third and then went out toward the end and took first place,” Stephens said. “I died a little on the last 300 of the finals, but I raced a lot so I think that played a factor. “

Stephens crossed the finish line in 2 minutes, 32.62.

“It’s always cool to compete at a national level,” Stephens said. “This year I was stronger, and raced a lot better than last year. I also feel like I just raced a lot smarter this year.”

Junior jumper Chance Callahan competed in the triple jump Saturday and jumped a distance of 13.69 meters. Just short of the 14.33 qualifying mark to reach the finals, Callahan’s leap was good enough for 22nd place in the country in the event.

Also just short of reaching the finals was the men’s 4×800 relay team. With the top eight teams advancing, the team finished with a time of 7 minutes, 48.97 seconds in ninth place. The team consisted of senior Andre Bennett, Stephens, and freshmen Jared Thompson and Doug Kostelansky.

The National Championship meet ended the indoor track and field season for Point Park, and the outdoor season will begin March 23 at the California University of Pennsylvania.